Olympic gold medalist swimmer Michael Phelps captured the collective attention of the nation during the 2008 Summer Games. More recently, he has found himself back in the spotlight after being arrested on suspicion of drunk driving for the second time.
According to a recent news article from CNN, Phelps was arrested in Baltimore just before 2:00 a.m. and charged with driving under the influence (DUI), excessive speed, and failure to stay in the appropriate lane.
Phelps posted a response to the breaking news on his Twitter account, stating that he knows the severity of his actions and that he is deeply sorry to anyone he has let down.
Authorities have explained that Phelps was caught on a stationary radar speed detection system traveling almost 40mph over the posted speed limit. A police officer followed Phelps onto the interstate and pulled him over just after a toll plaza.
He was allegedly unable to pass the field sobriety test the officer administered. According to publicly available records, this is the second time Phelps was arrested on suspicion of DUI. In his 2004 case, he plead guilty to driving under the influence and received 18 months of probation. He was off probation at the time of the latest drunk driving arrest.
It often seems like the nation as a whole is collectively shocked when a celebrity gets arrested for drunk driving. The truth is that there is no difference between a celebrity and the many other people who drink to the point of intoxication and get behind the wheel of a car. It is a dangerous behavior that can result in serious consequences to the driver and others on the roads and sidewalks.
Our drunk driving accident lawyers in Boston understand that alcohol impairs one’s ability to safely operate a car. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began seriously studying drunk driving and alcohol-related car accidents in the 1970s and outlines some of the common reasons for the many accidents that have resulted.
When a driver is impaired, he or she loses the ability to perform more than one task at the same time. While we may think of driving as one task, it is more accurately classified as a divided attention activity. A driver must constantly scan for obstacles and dangers on the road. The driver must monitor gauges and lights on the dashboard, perform a complex series of movements that require not only hand-eye coordination, but the use of one’s feet. Driving requires accurate (not double) vision and for the brain to perform neurologically complex calculations in less than one second.
This is the reason that field sobriety tests are designed to be divided attention tests. They require you to make certain movements while mentally focusing on something else, such as counting. Police are trained to constantly assess the driver’s ability to perform divided attention tasks. For example, when you are asked for your license and proof of insurance. The officer is trained to take the license and then ask a distracting question to see if you remember the proof of insurance.
If a driver is impaired, he or she acting in a negligent manner that is taking a risk with others’ lives who can be seriously injured or killed in a drunk driving car accident.
If you have been injured in a Boston drunk driving accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps arrested on DUI charge, September 30, 2014, CNN
More Blog Entries:
2 passengers dead after drunk driver crashes car into Naperville quarry, July 3, 2014, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog